Parkinson’s disease and depression

If you or a loved one is dealing with both Parkinson’s disease and depression, you’re not alone. According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, as many as 60 percent of people with Parkinson’s disease will experience depression at some point during their illness. Learning about depression, anxiety, frustration and other emotional challenges is the first step toward managing them.

Parkinson’s disease and your mental health

Parkinson’s disease is a complex disorder with many physical symptoms, like tremors, muscle rigidity and difficulty with movement. There are also many nonmotor symptoms, which commonly receive less attention, but are just as important to be aware of.Parkinson's and depression

If you or a loved one has recently been diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease, it’s important to understand that there’s a well-established link between Parkinson’s disease and depression. According to the journal Parkinson’s Disease, depression and anxiety can occur at any stage of the disease, maybe even before motor symptoms begin. You or your loved one may experience depression as a reaction to the diagnosis or, as suggested by Oregon Health and Science University, as part of changes in the brain caused by Parkinson’s disease.

Tips and therapies for improving your mental health

Your health care team is a great first stop in learning how to manage symptoms. You may also find it helpful to stay informed on the latest treatment strategies and breakthroughs in research. There are also many ways to improve your emotional well-being on your own, including

  • Getting plenty of exercise
    According to the Mayo Clinic, staying physically active can help you cope with Parkinson’s disease. You can even try classes like Reid Health’s Rock Steady Boxing or Indiana Parkinson Foundation’s The CLIMB, programs specifically designed to help Parkinson’s disease patients improve both movement and cognitive ability. Exercise can lift your mood and improve your emotional health.
  • Keeping a diary
    According to the Parkinson’s Disease Foundation, keeping a mood diary that factors in your medications and symptoms can be an effective way to manage anxiety caused by Parkinson’s disease.
  • Trying to stick to a regular sleep schedule
    Going to bed and getting up at the same time every day can help with many symptoms of Parkinson’s disease, according to the National Sleep Foundation. Sounder, more regular sleep can improve your mood, and sticking to a schedule will help you feel more in control.
  • Focusing on staying positive
    While Parkinson’s disease may make you feel frustrated and out of control, you can control your attitude. Take charge of your emotional well-being and overcome these feelings by focusing on the positive aspects of your life, and find things to be grateful for every day. Cedars-Sinai suggests that a positive attitude is an effective coping tool in your fight against Parkinson’s disease.
  • Joining a support group
    According to the Parkinson’s Awareness Association of Central Indiana, joining a support group can help you navigate through an unpredictable life with Parkinson’s disease. You aren’t alone in your fight against Parkinson’s disease, and meeting with others facing the same challenges can help you conquer anxiety and feel more empowered.

There are many resources available to people facing with Parkinson’s disease and depression. Learning about your symptoms and treatment options can put you in charge of both your physical and emotional health.

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